Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Past Careless Talk, Now New Finance Minister

In 1994, Tharman Shanmugaratnam was charged under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) for endangering the secrecy of classified documents and was fined $1,500. Then AG Chan Sek Keong, now the Chief Justice, was the man tasked to make a point about the OSA, MAS high flier or not. Tharman was then MAS' economics director and he disclosed to the Business Times the official flash estimates of the economic growth of 2nd quarter 1992. Among the five in that OSA case, Tharman got off the lightest as the other four received a $2,000 fine in the leak. Very odd, I should think, that the person who leaked official information actually did not shoulder the most responsibility while the journalists who received the information and subsequently published the information were held more accountable. The other four probably assumed that the information given to them was fit for public release or why else would it be shared with them?

A person prosecuted for leaking official information to the media is now Singapore's Finance Minister. What do you make out of it?

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